by Matthew A. Everett • August 6, 2008 •
Best Thing We Saw Yesterday
5 Stars – Very Highly Recommended
After seeing this, our friend David is all the more anxious to see the Cody Rivers Show as well. Andrew Connor, one half of the Cody Rivers duo, tears up the stage all by himself in this one, with a multitude of a characters in a town down on its luck, hopeful that the new space center will change their fortunes. It does, but not in any of the ways they expected. Central to it all is a sentimental bomb-maker who doesn’t like to blow things up. Instead, his bombs make things happen, setting off a domino effect that still gets him what he wants, without violence and explosions. When darker forces want to hire his talents for their own less than savory ends, the bomb-maker has some hard decisions, as well as creative bombs, to make in the hopes of making things right. A dazzling piece of solo work. Show page here, video clip here
Remaining Performances – University of Minnesota Rarig Center Arena TONIGHT – Wednesday, August 6th, 5:30pm Saturday, August 9th, 1pm
5 Stars – Very Highly Recommended
Our first show of the night last night and a great way to introduce our friend David to the Minnesota Fringe Festival. New local choreographer Kari Jensen creates some gorgeous stage pictures with her crew of dancers, all but one female (not counting their great special guest, that is). The music is closer to classical than other Fringe fare we’ve seen, but still often had an electronic edge. Every now and again some latin flavor peeks in as well. Mostly, it’s all about the graceful, fluid movements of some remarkable young dancers. Sometimes the human body in motion is the most-boggling special effect of all. Show page here
Remaining Performances – Ritz Theater TONIGHT – Wednesday, August 6th, 8:30pm Friday, August 8th, 4pm Saturday, August 9th, 7pm
4 Stars – Highly Recommended
Vintage Scrimshaw in a lot of ways – Sara and her usual breathtaking range of motion, Joseph and his wild-eyed comedic take on storytelling. Sometimes the two styles gelled better than others. Ultimately, the two threads of the production didn’t feed off each other the way I thought they would. They built separately rather than together to their own conclusions. Both endings were satisfying, and the show overall was something about which our friend David said, “That was quite charming.” I’d be interested to see them keep tinkering with this one. I get the feeling they could be just as great a team onstage as off. As it stands now, the Whisky Faerie is a lot of fun to spend some time with. Show page here, video clip here.
FINAL PERFORMANCE – Southern Theater Saturday, August 9th, 8:30pm
3 Stars – Recommended
Mom and I were really looking forward to this one, and to showing it off to our friend David. He was impressed, but Mom and I thought something was a little off. Claire’s signature style is still there – storytelling mixed with her multimedia bag of tricks. The cast of characters is familiar and growing – St. Claire (patron saint of television), Devil Duckie (now a political commentator as well) and Barbie are joined by Uncurious George (a chimp standing in for a current world leader who need not be named). But stretches of the video work were out of focus, the political musings surprisingly bitter, and the show seemed to be building to an end point a few times before it actually did end. A good friend who died suddenly, who Claire references several times throughout, seems to have thrown her for more of a loop than perhaps she thought. Tales of this lost friend are what ground the show, and give it added depth and heart. It may be that her wearing the dead man’s shirt, the way Howard Lieberman wore his dead father’s dancing shoes a couple of Fringes ago, has given Claire the foundation of a show that isn’t quite ready to be written yet. Still, with all that, it’s Claire Simonson, and I’d go see her brand of Fringe shows, and recommend them to others, ahead of a lot of other acts out there any day. Show page here, write-up here.
FINAL PERFORMANCE – Intermedia Arts Sunday, August 10th, 4pm
Entering his sixth year of blogging about the Minnesota Fringe Festival (and bringing Mom along for the ride as a guest reviewer), Matthew A. Everett is also a local playwright and three-time recipient of grant support from the Minnesota State Arts Board. Information on Matthew and his plays can be found at matthewaeverett.com.